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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Hwy 88 backpacking on 09/20/2010 23:58:58 MDT Print View

Hey everyone!
So I have heard alot of people talk about good backpacking off hwy 88 on the way up towards south lake tahoe. Anyone got some good spots in the area they could recommend?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Hwy 88 backpacking on 09/21/2010 00:23:21 MDT Print View

I don't go there much in summer. More in winter. The PCT runs right through Carson Pass, so that makes it easy to head north or south. North will take you up to Echo Summit (Hwy 50), but you can stop off at Meiss Lake or Showers Lake for a quick night. South of the pass, the beginners stop at Lake Winnemucca, or else continue to Fourth of July Lake.

Now that I think about it, I've spent ten times as many winter nights out there than summer nights.

Whatever trip you do, afterward drive over to Markleeville to Grover Hot Springs State Park. Soaking in the hot water after a trip will help.

--B.G.--

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
winter trips? on 09/21/2010 01:15:33 MDT Print View

Oh I will def stop at the hot springs, one of the best feelings after hiking!

Ive actually been looking for some good winter camping spots. Is it a good spot for like snow showing and XC skiing? Or is it more good for winter because its a lower elevation and more easily accessible with less snow? Ive been wanting to do some 2-3 night snow camping trips, and also take my friends out on an easy overnight to teach em how to dig snowcaves.

Those lakes you mentioned, are those good winter areas?

Thanks
Dan!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: winter trips? on 09/21/2010 10:43:46 MDT Print View

Carson Pass is around 9000' elevation. This year we were skiing south of the pass in May, but on a normal year we would ski to the various lakes in April. When we teach a beginner snowcamping class, the field trip is held just south of Carson Pass.

Also, a time-honored ski activity is a Trans-Sierra Ski Trip. If you have the time to take a week for this, great. However, many skiers have limited time, so we have sought out the shorter Trans-Sierra routes. Once such route is Bear Valley (Hwy 4) to the Red Lake Turnoff (Hwy 88), which takes only two days.

--B.G.--

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 14:55:45 MDT Print View

Bob - I've been watching this thread with interest and I'm definitely curious about the HIghway 4 to Highway 88 route.

I'll do some research on my end, but anything you can add would be much appreciated.

Thanks...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 15:08:44 MDT Print View

We are discussing a cross country ski route from Hwy 4, at the end of the plowed road, heading north and east. You ski east on 4, over Pacific Grade Summit, and down into the Hermit Valley. Then you leave 4 and head north through Deer Valley. Eventually you reach Blue Lakes, and you continue north on the Blue Lakes Jeep Road. That intercepts Hwy 88 a few miles east of Carson Pass at the Red Lake Turnoff. Due to the winter highways, it is best if you organize this with two ski groups going in opposite directions. One group starts on Hwy 4, and one group starts on Hwy 88. If weather is good, both groups meet to snow camp in Deer Valley, which is approximately the middle, and car keys can be exchanged. I've done it in each direction, but I prefer starting on Hwy 88. You also have to have a contingency plan that if the Deer Valley meeting doesn't happen, each group has to turn around and retrace tracks back to their own cars.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: "Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 15:29:27 MDT Print View

Sounds like a nice snowshoe trip this winter!

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 15:37:24 MDT Print View

I'm there for sure, at least as an out-and-back from either one of the trailheads.

Sounds like Bob prefers to start from 88.

Bob -

Any particular avalanche hazard zones?

Approximate mileage to the Deer Valley area from either trailhead?

Thanks!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 16:57:15 MDT Print View

If the terrain were rough, I might suggest it for snowshoes. However, most of it is open and clear, so cross country skis might be best. Starting from the end of the plowed road on Hwy 4, there was at least one slope of moderate hazard about 5 miles in. Then at the 10-mile point is where you leave 4 and head north on a Jeep trail. Deer Valley is about 14 miles in. Then you hit the Lower Blue Lake Dam at 16 miles. Around 20 miles, the ski route might diverge from the Jeep road, and then you finish at 25 miles by reaching Hwy 88.

There is also an alternative by heading east and skiing down into the valley of Grover Hot Spring State Park. However, you would not want to do that unless it is a big snow year. The first time we ever tried this trip (25 years ago), this was the plan. As we got closer to that big descent, we realized that one skier would not be able to survive the descent, so we shifted and skied straight out to Hwy 88. That was awkward, since we had positioned a car at Grover.

--B.G.--

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: "Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/21/2010 23:37:51 MDT Print View

Bob - what has been your experience in that are as far as snowmobiles? I've heard there is a lot of snowmobile use in the area around Blue Lakes.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: "Hwy 88 backpacking" on 09/22/2010 00:23:05 MDT Print View

Yes, snowmobiles.

Once, when we started on Hwy 4, we got 4 miles up the road when a team of six snowmobiles roared past us (5 skiers). Of the six, five were normal, and one was this huge machine carrying a huge man. Then at the 5-mile point, we caught up with them. The huge machine had broken down, and the huge man would not fit onto the normal machines. Everybody was tinkering with it, trying to get it to run. We just quietly skied past.

On the Hwy 88 end, you see snowmobiles for the first 2 miles on the Blue Lakes Jeep Road. Sometimes, they run all the way to Blue Lakes. However, they seldom run over Forestdale Divide, so that is the desired route for skiers.

I don't ever remember seeing any snowmobiles in the middle of the whole route.

--B.G.--